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Can the mother of 4 month old children be forced to seek work ?

(14 Posts)
anselm Mon 05-Nov-12 15:27:21


I am not a parent myself. I work as an English teacher for refugees and migrants in East London. As a result of my work I am helping one of my students to deal with the benefits system. She has three children, a 20 month girl and two 4 month old girls. Her husband is desperate for work but has reluctantly signed on , after many years struggling through the asylum system. He and his wife are claiming JSA on a joint claim. He signs on every two weeks. They have just received a letter from the job centre requesting that she attends a "work focussed interview" , which according to the letter is designed to "help you consider going into paid work". Does anyone know whether the parent of such young children can be forced to seek paid work , or do you know of any reliable sources of on-line advice on this topic ?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions about the above.

janey68 Mon 05-Nov-12 19:20:51

I'm not an expert but I assume they are both claiming Because they are both seeking work, in which case no one is being "forced" to work. It may be that if she secures a job first, the childrens father will care for them, which is absolutely fine. (as would care from a nanny, cm incidentally- many women used to return to work with babies of 4 months or less)
You can't claim JSA unless you are looking for work.

colditz Mon 05-Nov-12 19:23:19

I don't think her period of maternity rights is up yet, so she has at least another five months, I think

janey68 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:17:23

You can't have maternity rights without a job, and she clearly hasn't got a job or she wouldn't be claiming JSA!

I'm a little confused by the "jointly claiming" terminology, but if I am reading this correctly, the man and woman are both seeking work, and the first to get a job will take it, leaving the other parent to provide childcare. I don't understand the 'forced into work' terminology either, because if you claim JSA you are declaring that you are available to work.

PatriciaHolm Tue 06-Nov-12 19:12:35

If they are doing a joint JSA claim, then she has already stated she is looking for work. If she is not prepared to do so, he needs to do a single claim.

BooyhooRemembering Tue 06-Nov-12 19:18:41

i claim income support and i have to attend a work focused interview every 6 months. i am asked questions about what qualifications i have, whether i am currently studying or have gained any new quals since my last interview, whether i have started working or have a job lined up. i am asked what prevents me working. ( i have a 7 year old and a 3 year old) i answer that i am caring for my youngest until he starts school full time. i have never been told that i must look for work or get a job. there is no pressure in the interview, they ask teh questions, write down the answers and tell me that my next appointment will be in 6 months and that i will get a letter.

BlackholesAndRevelations Wed 07-Nov-12 20:17:21

Alright for some, booyhoo hmm

I think perhaps her husband should claim as a single person if she doesn't want to leave her babies.

BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 00:12:07

you know SFA about it dear so you can keep your wee hmm all to yourself.

you'll have noticed that i didn't post what i answer to all the previous questions i get asked at the interview. they might change your opinion. but frankly you're no-one to me so i dont have to justify myself to you and i wont be giving you any of my answers.

janey68 Thu 08-Nov-12 07:10:37

Think the thread was getting sidetracked there by irrelevant stuff.
OP- its quite simple- this woman you know should not be claiming JSA if she isn't available to work. That is the whole point of JSA. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother of 4 month old child working- millions of women have done it over the years- but it's very misleading to imply anyone is forcing her into a job. If she is not available to work, her husband can continue to claim singly

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 09-Nov-12 07:28:32

Sorry :-( I just can't help being bitter about people who can afford to stay home and look after their children (thanks to the state- i have a friend who just keeps popping them out, talking about her "right" to have as many as she wants- all paid for by the taxpayer) while I and millions of others have to leave them to go to work, and can't afford a second or third (this girl has six) :-(((

Of course I don't know your circumstances (youngest may have sen or something) and therefore I apologise for sidetracking the thread.

janey68 Fri 09-Nov-12 08:12:06

I wasn't referring to you sidetracking it blackholes- it was the post which was from someone on income support, which is totally different to JSA and therefore not helpful or relevant to the op

(and don't feel bad about working- the evidence shows children with parents in employment have far better outcomes, so you're acting in your children's interests)

BooyhooRemembering Fri 09-Nov-12 10:21:56

i was posting my experience of a work focused interview (which is what the person was required to attend). that is not relevant.

can you define what you mean by 'outcomes' and clarify at which point in life this outcome is assessed please?

BooyhooRemembering Fri 09-Nov-12 10:22:37

that is not irrelevant

Rockchick1984 Sun 11-Nov-12 09:40:50

Anselm by making a joint JSA claim they are saying they are both available for work. This is completely normal for the benefit system. Whichever one finds work first will need to go out to work, the other if they choose to can stay at home with the children. From the sounds of your post the mother would prefer to stay at home with the children - I'd suggest that the husband / partner throws himself into as many job applications etc as possible to ensure he gets work before she does smile

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